If the truth be told, prayer is hard work. Although all serious Christians recognize the importance that the Bible places on prayer, most fall short when it comes to doing it. I must confess that it is a lot easier for me as a pastor to preach about prayer than to spend that same amount of time engaged in it.
Even when there is a determination to pray, distractions seem to always show up. The mind wanders, people interrupt, and I, like you, often fall asleep early in the process. We feel guilty and commit to do better, but after a while fall back into the same old struggle of neglect or routine prayers.
This naturally raises the question: Why is something so strategic to the Christian life, our relationship with God and victory in life such a challenge? The answer is that prayer links us to a realm we are unfamiliar navigating. Paul calls it "heavenly places." Prayer is the God-given communication link between heaven and earth, time and eternity, the finite and the infinite.
Prayer is God's backstage pass into a personal audience with Him. Thus the enemy, not wanting us to make contact, seeks to divert our belief, confidence, determination and practice of prayer. Prayer, unlike anything else, grants us legitimate authority to invoke heaven into history, so that God is welcomed into our affairs.
As you think about strengthening your prayer life, keep in mind that God is vitally interested in you and your prayers. And He desires for you to be vitally interested in hearing from Him. He wants you to pray at all times for the simple reason that He wants heaven to stay connected to earth through you.
What's more, once you begin to hear and discern God's voice in your ongoing fellowship with Him and through His Word, it is as satisfying as anything you could ever experience. He is as close a friend as you will ever know. He will guide you, direct you, comfort you, surprise you and even spoil you with His love. He can also deepen your wisdom with His insight.
But if you're struggling in your prayer life, it can feel like putting money into a vending machine, pushing the button, and not getting any response at all. You push the button again and again; you even nudge it with your foot. Still, nothing happens, leaving you to eventually walk away feeling frustrated.
If you want to see a miracle, you are going to have to align your heart with His. God tells us that when we ask "according to His will," He hears us. We are not to name and claim just anything that comes to mind. We are to seek that which God Himself desires for us. We are to pray for that which is in alignment with His will. Every single prayer or request you make in accordance with His will comes about in history. But far too few pray with that insight or with that level of surrender.
Kingdom prayer is not supposed to be sitting down to ask God to bless everyone on your list, as well as your job. That's nice and you can say that in a few minutes, but that's not the essence of prayer. The essence of kingdom prayer is positioning yourself in the presence of God in order for God to show you what He is doing so you can access it on earth.
Too often, people look at God like a vending machine. They insert their prayers and expect a miracle to come out. But kingdom prayer means seeking God's will, not the fulfillment of your hopes and dreams.
This article is adapted from "Kingdom Prayer: Touching Heaven to Change Earth" by Tony Evans.